The United Kingdom’s economic stimulus ignores green energy

The penny is beginning to drop. The United Kingdom is not a powerhouse of green renewable energy; it does not lead the world in renewables, in fact it spends less on renewables per capita than virtually any other developed nation. Ignore the spin about the Climate Change Act – the government just does not understand the danger of climate change and energy security; if it did it would act very differently.

I have often thought that priorities of people and nations are best understood by looking at how the people spend their own money and how governments spend the money that they collect in taxes from the people. A simple example is often all you need to illustrate the point; in the United Kingdom Members of Parliament (there are only 646 of them) spend more on their own expenses and wages than they vote to spend on solar thermal heating. I have used this example for many years, but I have felt to be one of the few voices complaining.

Recently, the New Economics Foundation has confirmed that the United Kingdom spends less on clean energy than any other wealthy nation. The Government claims to lead the world in the fight against climate change. That claim is a foolish and hollow bit of propaganda, which is now laid bare by the report from the New Economics Foundation. Only £100 million of the United Kingdom’s annual wealth (apparently less than 0.0083%) is spent on genuine renewable technologies. That is a sufficient sum to keep the BBC going for less than three hours.

The Liberal Democrats and the federation of Master Builders have pointed out that we are spending more on roads than on insulation. The Green Party launched a “Green New Deal” last November, to find their concept hi-jacked and distorted by the Government. Instead of a Green New Deal we have more of the same.

To make matters worse the Government’s new economic stimulus package hardly touches renewable energy. If you look in detail at the figures, you find that including in the government’s stimulus measures against climate change is an item of £300 million for new railway carriages; terribly important of course, but is this a genuine green stimulus or is it money that would and should have been spent in any event.

The Treasury defends the Government claiming that they expect to spend £50 billion in the “low carbon sector” in the four years between 2008 and 2011. This expenditure claimed is actually expenditure that we need to make in any event – improving the electrical grid, improving public transport and so forth. The actual amount to be spent on renewable energy is miniscule.

Although the Treasury claims that there is a comprehensive framework in place, that framework is simply in the main, more of the same – tagging important improvements in things that need to be improved in any event (like public transport) with a “green” tag, in order to provide an illusion of green spending.

In fact the Treasury should only count as “green stimulus” those measures which would be done had it not been for the threat of climate change. Out of account goes the money spent on new railway carriages, the public transport expenditure, fixing the nation grid, and the existing base of expenditure on insulation to save home energy. These are things that are already part of Treasury expenditure and have been part of it for many years.

When they are stripped from the figures you are left with a “framework” what will collapse under the growing weight of climate change – a flimsy structure. It indicates a lack of commitment to fix climate change, not a green new deal or any significant numbers of new green jobs.

The United Kingdom has a greater responsibility to fix climate change than most nations. It is the nation that historically has emitted the greatest volume of greenhouse gases. It started the industrial revolution, founded on coal, and its energy and economy has been founded on coal for all but the last thirty years out of the past 250 years. It is equitable, in these circumstances that Albion should spend more than any other developed nation on green renewable energy, not less.

The Treasury are missing a fiscal advantage by failing to invest in green energy. The businesses in the United Kingdom that are involved in green energy compete on the world stage for business. There is no doubt that green energy will be a massive growth industry throughout the world for the foreseeable future. If British businesses find that renewable energy is not supported by their won government they will find it increasingly difficult to compete.

If Britain’s green businesses are successful they will potentially contribute more tax into Treasury coffers than the failed banking system has contributed, especially when you take into account the money returned to the banking sector to keep it afloat. At the moment there is little British renewable energy expertise and products being sold around the world. In the solar thermal sector, Genersys is doing more than any other British company, competing against solar thermal businesses founded in countries which have much larger government support and encouragement.

When I go to the Republic of Korea or the United States to sell solar panels, or when I go to Germany to visit my partners there or Slovakia to visit our factory, I find it nations which are investing far more than mine in green energy. It is more than embarrassing. It is a disgrace.


3 Responses

  1. […] more here: The United Kingdom’s economic stimulus ignores green energy … Share and […]

  2. […] Biofuel Blog War added an interesting post on The United Kingdomâ […]

  3. Robert, This report agrees with your opinion that Renewable Heat Microgeneration is a lot more feasible and a better solution than generating more electricity through solar votaic or building more powerstations nuclear, Hydro-carbon, Wind Turbine.
    18 page Report: Government Response to Report on The Economics of Renewable Energy

    Click to access 33.pdf

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